This is one of the most oft-asked questions we get from our Clients and prospective clients. And the answer is simple, and complex! The simple answer is: “As long as we are legally allowed to!” What we do and when we do it is where the answer gets more complicated.
Not all debts have the same Statute of Limitations (SOL). It can vary on where the debt was incurred, what type of debt it is, if there have been payments, if the original contract was oral or written, who the creditor is, and a few more issues that come up occasionally. A better answer to the question is not a simple timeline, but an explanation of the process we have in place to try to recover your money.
There are certain requirements we have as a debt collector under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), including notification of rights, providing validation of debts, reasonable investigations into credit disputes, ID theft investigation, and behaving in a professional and respectful manner at all times. While doing all of these things, our staff tries to communicate with the customer who owes the bill and work out a reasonable payment plan. Many times, the person is simply unable to make payments at this time, or they have moved around so much we cannot find them right away.
If our collector has decided there is no trail to follow, communication coming from the customer, or attachable asset to pursue, we are still going to continue “working” the account for location and asset information. We batch thousands of files to different data providers looking for employer information and credit scoring data each month, all helpful in pointing us in the right direction. We are also on the lookout for new phone or address contacts so we can pick up the trail again. Just because we were unable to get payment this month, or this year, doesn’t mean we have given up! Most of the debts we work have a SOL of six years, so our processes go on for an extended period of time.